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Accepted Paper:

Doing Anthropology, Crafting Anthropology: A pandemic perspective from Guinea  
Fanny Attas (ENS De Lyon, Triangle Umr5206 Cerfig)

Paper short abstract:

This paper, drawing on an 18-months ethnography on Covid-19 and a 1-month ethnography on Ebola in Guinea, explores how these two pandemics differently impacted anthropologists on site and forced them to craft and create new anthropological methods and research approaches.

Paper long abstract:

In 2020 and 2021, Guinea has declared several epidemics and pandemics. Covid-19, Ebola, Lassa fever, Marburg fever – and their barrier measures – changed the way anthropologists on field were practicing and researching. They forced researchers to craft new research methodologies and approaches, transforming their practices of anthropology to access data and informants. This paper, drawing on an 18-months ethnography on Covid-19 in Guinea and a 1-month ethnography on Ebola resurgence in Forest Guinea, explores how these two pandemics have affected anthropological practices. While Covid-19 impeded most of participant observation in Northern countries and other African countries – leading to a multiplication of online ethnography and methodology relying on social media –, participative research was still possible in Guinea and anthropologists could lead fieldwork in health centres, hospitals and Covid-19 treatment centres. Numerous anthropologists in our team, including I, also turned their compulsory hospitalization in Covid-19 centres into participative fieldworks, having an insight perspective that completed their previous fieldworks and exploring methods of observant participation and « onboard » anthropology. With Ebola resurgence in February 2021 in Forest Guinea, anthropologists were directly integrated within the Response and worked closely with NGOs and Guinean officials. However, in continuation with the 2014-2016 Ebola Riposte, anthropologists were mostly considered as augmented communicators and mediators, and practices of anthropology were perceived as negotiation skills more than research activities. Producing knowledge on the epidemic resurgence was not valued by the Response officials, forcing anthropologists to find creative ways to lead research within the Response.

Panel P041a
Living through the pandemic: anthropology in and on Africa I
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -